Title: Snow on the Mountain
Theme: Show Don't Tell
Author's Notes: This tale is an edited-down version of a story I wrote a number of years ago, called Forcing a Path
Summary: Boromir and Aragorn struggle to make a path through the snow on the Caradhras mountainside.
Word Count: 591 as counted by Jarte
Snow on the Mountain
The going was slow through the deep snow as Boromir and Aragorn together sought a path back down the mountain; before long, they were both toiling heavily. The snow was breast-high in places, and Boromir felt more like he was swimming than walking. He thrust the snow aside as he went, and tramped it down underfoot; Aragorn, following, did the same.
They advanced slowly, forcing their way through drifts, ice and snow to a broader way below the precarious path they had been traversing when the storm had first begun. The going was somewhat easier there, for a time, as the expanse of snow had been partially swept clear by the strong winds. But as they approached the shoulder of rock that marked for them the bottom of the steep path, the way soon became difficult again.
When Boromir and Aragorn reached the spot, they stopped, dismayed. The protruding shoulder of rock had caused the wind to drop its load of snow in a great drift that blocked their path. The drift was flung like a sheer wall across the path, its crest sharp as if shaped by knives. Boromir stood catching his breath as he contemplated the wall of snow.
The snow was heavy and wet, which made for a wearisome task as they plowed their way forward; yet that was also an advantage, for the snow remained where it was put as they passed through. Gazing upwards, Boromir tried to judge the height of the drift. It was more than twice his body length, and he was a tall man. Even so, working their way over the top was preferrable to trying to tunnel through the drift of snow. There was no telling how wide it was, and the danger of being buried if the tunnel collapsed was too great.
Having made his decision, Boromir waved to Aragorn to follow as he pressed on.
Slowly, surely, they beat a passage forward and up through the middle of the drift. Arms and legs became heavy, and breath painful in the thin air as they labored to make a path. They were no more than a third of the way up, when their fears were realized. An avalanche of snow cascaded down from atop the high drift.
Aragorn shouted, but Boromir had no time to do more than draw in a quick breath and duck his head before he was buried. His face was pushed down and his mouth filled with snow. He struggled and kicked to get free, but the snow weighed heavily on him. He was trapped.
In spite of his fear, Boromir forced himself to lie still. He would only make matters worse by struggling. He would have to trust that Aragorn could come to his aid. The sounds were muffled by the heavy snow, but he could hear Aragorn digging above him. Suddenly the weight of snow was removed, and he felt Aragorn's grip on his cloak. He gasped and choked as he was pulled up and out into the air.
Boromir grinned gratefully at Aragorn as he brushed himself down and shook snow out of his hair and cloak. It was good he had not been alone, with no companion to dig him out -- and good that Aragorn had not been buried as well!
Aragorn slapped Boromir on the back and waved to him to fall in behind; he was going first now, and would bear the brunt of forging the path. Boromir did not mind. He was content to follow for the time being.